Kingdom Zero Tolerance video evidence blocked by Wrexham Council bureaucracy

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  • #149651

    Matt
    Participant

    So it would appear that the Council have managed to fail at transparency yet again.

    ‘Slimmer’ and ‘limited’ minutes all you get as Council’s webcasting archives deemed off limits

    The webcast video containing a key decision making discussion on Kingdom’s zero tolerance approach to issuing littering fines requested by Wrexham.com has been declined on ridiculous bureaucratic grounds that videos cannot be shown after 6 months.

    I would suggest that the council should release this video of evidence where it was decided that a zero tolerance approach was agreed on or it didn’t happen. It is very much in the public interest as councillors were unable to find reference to the original decision being made during the recent scrutiny meeting on Kingdom’s approach in the county. The uncertainty led to councillors, the press and members of the public all wanting to know more.

    So surely in order for the Executive Board to back up claims that the zero tolerance approach was what was decided in the initial meeting they should show us the video footage. As it would at least exonerate them of any claims that an incorrect approach has been taken that actually fails to follow fair Defra guidelines amongst other policies.

    At least we would then know that zero tolerance was their intention all along & disprove claims that control hasn’t slipped away from the Council chamber when the Kingdom contract was implemented. Instead perhaps being pushed forward by someone further down the chain of command who was more interested in generating revenues than actually cleaning up the streets or even giving Kingdom themselves carte blanche to implement this themselves without consent from the council in order to bully and intimidate vulnerable members of the public into paying up to boost private revenues for shareholders.

    So yes, perhaps someone in the council has viewed the original meeting video after Wrexham.com requested it and discovered there were no zero tolerance references in the footage whatsoever, which is the real reason why the footage was refused. This would put certain councillors in an awkward position as stating false information to the contrary that is aimed at misleading other councillors and members of the public. Perhaps they were forgetful or lying? Either way it’s incompetence or deception if the case.

    Come on Council, publish the video to prove me wrong!

    #149658

    jimbow
    Participant

    If zero tolerance was not indicated to be the procedure to follow at the meeting, could it be that some of those who have been fined, could have their cases reviewed.?

    #149666

    Nen
    Participant

    It’s not a zero tolerance approach – I saw a gang of youths deliberately dropping litter in front of a Kingdom officer and laughing, and the officer didn’t do anything.

    Once the gang dispersed however, an old dear dropped a tissue whilst retrieving something from her pocket and, was pounced on straightaway by the Officer!

    So, not sure what their policy is.

    #149667

    Matt
    Participant

    I’ve just fired off an FOI request to the council requesting the video, following advice that there should be no objections to them providing the information to members of the public or the press as it was previously part of public record. If I do not get a satisfactory response I am escalating the issue to ICO.

    To: foi@wrexham.gov.uk

    FOI Request: Wrexham Council Meeting Video/Transcript – Kingdom Security Zero Tolerance

    Hello,

    Following up from this article and a recent scrutiny meeting on Kingdom:

    ‘Slimmer’ and ‘limited’ minutes all you get as Council’s webcasting archives deemed off limits

    I would like to request access to a video recording or transcription that pertains to an item within the meeting:
    Executive Board
    Tuesday, 8th December, 2015 10.00 am

    http://moderngov.wrexham.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=129&MId=2999

    Specifically regarding Item 100 – Proposals for the Enhancement of the Council’s Enforcement Service
    http://moderngov.wrexham.gov.uk/documents/s500002225/Item%207.pdf

    There was previously a webcast link to this Item, that has now expired
    http://www.wrexham.public-i.tv/site/mg_bounce.php?mg_a_id=2936&mg_m_id=2999

    Which means it was available as part of public record and should therefore still be within the public interest and the general public’s right to access this video, regardless of the 6 month time limit policy.

    If it is not possible to directly provide a video of this item, can someone please do a full transcription of this section of the video to provide an electronic text copy of what was said by the respective councillors during this item?

    The meeting minutes do not represent sufficient coverage of the item in question as I want to see any references made to zero tolerance in terms of how the Kingdom enforcement policy was developed, which appear to be completely absent from the meeting minutes.

    This is following up from comments made by Clr Bithell in a recent scrutiny committee that took place in April 2018 – http://www.wrexham.com/news/angry-councillors-to-further-review-kingdom-enforcement-as-questions-raised-over-who-decided-zero-tolerance-policy-147520.html

    “Lead Member Cllr David A Bithell has said that policy was clearly stated in a public council meeting in December 2015 and was mentioned in the debate on that day. “

    If this information has been clearly stated as asserted by Clr Bithell, then it is in the public interest and for other councillors involve in the whole scrutiny process and the press to be able to access this information as evidence that what Clr Bithell is stating is fact.

    If this information is withheld (when previously available to the public, so therefore not too sensitive to distribute) then it shows a lack of transparency in terms of Wrexham Council’s proceedings. Councillors should not be able to refer back to previous meetings where no evidence of what was stated is available to members of the public and the full set of councillors.

    Otherwise decisions can be made without good faith and councillors could end up being misled on the words (without substance) of leading Executive Board members and in turn fail to make the right decisions or not have the right information to make any challenges or appeals.

    Objection Handling
    Following the official FOI request guidelines
    https://www.gov.uk/make-a-freedom-of-information-request/if-your-request-is-turned-down

    I provide the following notes regarding objections:

    i) Technical Objections: There can be no technical objections to this request as a copy of the video in any format or a transcription will be acceptable

    ii) Sensitive Information Objections: There can be no sensitive information objections to this request as the information was previously available as part of public record

    iii) Cost Objections: It would be considered highly unlikely that there are any cost objections to this request as it is unlikely to cost more than £450 to find and extract the specific information requested – as even a transcription of the Item section at commercial rate would fall well below that cost plus subsequent admin costs.

    If this information is not provided or a satisfactory response is not provided as to why I am not allowed access to this information, I will escalate a complaint to the Information Commissioner’s Office.

    Your assistance with this matter will be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks

    #150019

    Wrexham1
    Participant

    Last week a friend of mine accidentally pulled a receipt from their pocket whilst trying get out some change. They didn’t realise they had done so, until they were pounced on by a Kingdom operative. My friend immediately apologised and picked up the receipt, however the Kingdom operative started to ask for details to issue a fine. My friend refused to give their details,explaining that it was a genuine accident. The Kingdom operative then went into the usual standard script about how it was a criminal offence to refuse to give their details and that they would call the police to assist them. My friend calmly told the kingdom operative that if they wanted to pretend to call the police on their mobile to try and scare them into giving details go ahead, but if you’ll excuse me now I’m going to carry on with my shopping, if you want to carry on following me round shouting pretend threats then that’s up to you, but you’re still not getting any details……Kingdom operative soon left

    • This reply was modified 2 weeks, 3 days ago by  Wrexham1.
    • This reply was modified 2 weeks, 3 days ago by  Wrexham1.
    • This reply was modified 2 weeks, 3 days ago by  Wrexham1.
    • This reply was modified 2 weeks, 3 days ago by  Wrexham1.
    #150420

    Matt
    Participant

    Kingdom Contract to be terminated in Denbighshire in August after the council meeting yesterday. Apparently Kingdom representatives themselves were “too afraid to turn up in case they were subject to vigilante attacks”.

    Only a matter of time now before Kingdom get binned in Wrexham. Their operations are dropping like flies across North Wales.

    Flintshire to discuss the future of Kingdom in a scrutiny meeting next week.

    #150421

    Council Watcher
    Participant

    The catch will surely be how long a contract they have- terminating early will clearly cost the Council and us the ratepayers of Wrexham. The only way to get out with zero cost will be to find something they have not been doing and go for breach of contract.

    What Kingdom staff think–
    https://www.indeed.co.uk/cmp/Kingdom-Security/reviews?fjobtitle=Law+Enforcement+Officer&fcountry=ALL

    #150423

    Matt
    Participant

    The catch will surely be how long a contract they have- terminating early will clearly cost the Council and us the ratepayers of Wrexham. The only way to get out with zero cost will be to find something they have not been doing and go for breach of contract.

    Perhaps it will hinge on some of the aforementioned issues mentioned in the April scrutiny meeting.
    Scrutiny

    #150456
    Rob
    Rob
    Keymaster

    The catch will surely be how long a contract they have- terminating early will clearly cost the Council and us the ratepayers of Wrexham. The only way to get out with zero cost will be to find something they have not been doing and go for breach of contract.

    I would have to review the notes, but having exercised the right as anyone does to look at contracts once a year, I think it is a 90 day break clause in there regardless of reason.

    (Wrexham.com'er - email us on news@wrexham.com)

    #150476

    Wrexham1
    Participant

    Latest news on the North Wales Against Kingdom Security Facebook group is that all North Wales council’s apart from Wrexham, are supposedly getting rid of Kingdom in August. Wrexham will surely follow though.

    There are at least two ways that Kingdom have breached their contract that could be used to terminate it. Firstly, by not giving alleged offenders a chance to pick up the litter before issuing an FPN as required by law and secondly for trying to obtain money by deception from making false threats of police involment for refusal to give details when it is not a police matter. I have a friend who is a serving police officer at North Wales Police who has confirmed that they will not attend any requests by Kingdom for refusal to cooperate, as it is a civil matter.

    • This reply was modified 1 week, 2 days ago by  Wrexham1.
    • This reply was modified 1 week, 2 days ago by  Wrexham1.
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